Here at TIFF I’m bunking with the hardest working journalist I know - Nadia Neophytou. Last night she was up at 3am, 4:30am and 6am to do live radio chats with her home country of South Africa. I didn’t mind, and went straight back to sleep after her alarm went off, but when I was briefly awake I heard her being bright and cheery and making sense somehow, even though it was ridiculously early. She amazes me! We have shared many a bed at many a film festival, and beyond that, many a tear and a laugh at the hard and fun times of our job. I can call her in New York when I’m struggling for cash, or to share a good piece of news, and she does the same to me in LA. It’s lovely.
When I eventually woke up, I left her to sleep a little more and got started on my questions for the cast of ‘Prisoners’. The film still stayed with me overnight, it’s unsettling and gripping, and I wanted to come up with some good stuff to ask the cast. Plus angle for another hug with Jake Gyllenhaal of course. I’m only human. And female.
My first screening of the day was ‘The Devil’s Knot’, based on the real case of the West Memphis three, starring Reese Witherspoon as the mother of one of the children who was murdered. If you’ve seen any of the ‘Paradise Lost’ or ‘West of Memphis’ documentaries, you’ll know how intriguing this case is. Unfortunately this film felt more like a reenactment of what happened, starring Hollywood versions of the real people, and didn’t (or couldn’t?) have a point of view. The way ‘West of Memphis’ was paced and structured, the way it played with your mind and slowly revealed details was much more interesting than this serving up of the facts. But I did enjoy seeing Reese Witherspoon be all unglamorous and wearing comfortable clothes.
Leaving ‘The Devil’s Knot’ I rushed over to a hotel for the interviews for ‘Prisoners’. Being a little late I was put straight through to talk to Jake Gyllenhaal without nuch time to prepare. Feeling flustered, I entered the room. Once again I was struck by how big and blue his eyes are, how sharp he looked in his suit, and how… he didn’t remember me. AT ALL.
“Jake!!” I said, exasperated, “Every time I interview you… which sure, has only been two times… I tell you how I’m your future wife! One day, you’re going to remember me and you’re going to get it!” Over the next five minutes he laughed and joked about our morning coffees, our future children, and was genuinely charming. I stammered about holding my pee, wanting a hug, and was genuinely creepy. The girl timing our interview was trying to wrap me up, but with no avail. I didn’t want to leave the room.
I then proceeded to mention to every other cast member how Jake and I we were to be married. Hugh Jackman, bless him, even agreed to put in a good word for me. Terrence Howard offered to be my second choice if Jake didn’t work out. I do worry about my mental state. Especially after I caught a glimpse of his model girlfriend who he met at a spin class. I could never compete with that!
On my way out of the hotel, I got into an elevator, sighing when I realized it was going up and I needed to go down. The elevator stopped, the other guys got out, and it went up again. Ugh, I thought, I’m never getting out of here! Then the doors opened and… there was Jake Gyllenhaal with his people.
“Ok,” I said, as he entered the elevator, “NOW this is awkward!”
“It’s not awkward for me,” he replied, and smiled.
“So,” asked his publicist, finding this exchange hilarious, “When is this ‘future’ happening when you are going to get married?”
“When he comes to his senses and gets down with the Aussie way…” I replied cheekily.
“Oh, I’ve been down with the Aussie way for a long time,” said Jake, and moved to stand next to me.
“I was about to say ‘well then, come down under!’ but that sounded dodgy,” I said, instantly regretting that and feeling a flush on my cheeks.
“That’s not dodgy,” he said softly, and then, “You’re a little intimidating.”
After a pause, he changed the subject. “How long are you here for?”
Then suddenly, the doors opened at his floor and he moved to exit.
“Till next Thursday. Have a good time!” I replied, and as the doors closed I stood there, stunned. What are the chances I’d get in the wrong lift and he’d get in? And why was I so cheeky all of a sudden? In all seriousness I could never do anything with any famous person, all that attention is just not for me. But I DO find it hilarious to be the flirter not the flirtee, take the power, and Jake is very good looking. I rushed out the elevator and looked for Nadia… I could not wait to tell her!
I filled her in on the gossip on our way to screening number two for the day, ‘Rush’, directed by Ron Howard. This tells the true story of two car-racing rivals in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s enjoyable even if you are not that interested in cars, and Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl do a great job at bringing these characters to life. One is reckless and loves to party, the other is serious and has no friends. It’s a fun sporting film, though, similar to ‘The Devil’s Knot’, I think a documentary on a different racer, ‘Senna’ covered the sport in a more interesting way.
I rushed from ‘Rush’ (ZING!!) to an interview with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for ‘Enough Said’. When I walked in, she said, “Oh I remember you! We hugged!” And I had to apologize for freaking out over her the last time. “I’ll be cool, I promise!” A huge Seinfeld fan from way back, I had pretty much burst with uncontrollable excitement, and demanded a hug. She was wonderful then and is wonderful now. Funny, sharp and with the best arms I have EVER seen. We spoke about James Gandolfini and being old and how Justin Bieber and One Direction are basically JUST HAIR. I like her.
Walking back to the press room, I realized how ensconced in the world of the film festival when a fellow Aussie asked “Did you vote?” I said, “For a film? We can do that??” before realizing it was actually Election Day in Australia. My postal vote long gone, I had completely forgotten about it. Completely forgotten about the future of my home country. But that’s what happens at film festivals, the rest of the world ceases to exist and you’re all about what you’re seeing and what you’re about to see.
Movie number three was ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ starring a SKINNY Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. It’s based on a true story of an AIDS patient who smuggled in drugs from Mexico to help others. This movie is one of the most hyped at this festival, and straight after the screening I tweeted my reaction only to be told… there is actually an embargo in place, so I’m not suppose to say anything until tomorrow. I deleted it and that means… you’ll just have to stay tuned to hear more! Speaking of tomorrow, it’s another hectic, crazily scheduled day, with many more interviews and hugs and flirting to be had. I survived today, so let’s BRING IT.